THANKFUL AT THANKSGIVING
In following the long tradition of the late Furman Bisher, beloved sports
editor for the Atlanta Journal/Constitution, some years ago I started a holiday
column offering up my feelings of appreciation on Thanksgiving but from a Monroe
Looking back on Monroe over the years and the folks and places I have
known and loved, what better time to express my feelings than this season where
friends, family and home take center stage.
On this Thanksgiving eve here is what I feel especially thankful for:
the multitude of Monroe folk who have supported, endorsed, helped &
organized the newly opened Monroe Cultural & Heritage Museum.
Your donations, contributions, encouragement and dedication to our dream
of having a museum to showcase our rich history has become a reality in large
part to your efforts and for this I am extremely proud and appreciative.
mentioning the museum I want to express my personal appreciation to Judy Brown
Shuford, A.C. Marshall and Bobby Carrell who were among a dedicated group of
like-minded folks, whose visionary efforts helped form and create the edifice we
know now as the “Monroe Museum”.
Without their devotion to and love of Monroe’s history we would not be
where we are today.
former teachers in the Monroe schools who have attained “living legend”
status: Allyne Brown and Kathryn Phillips. For all you gave to the Monroe
community through your teaching endeavors and other commitments to make our town
a better place to live, I salute you!
having the good fortune of attending and being part of our recent 50th
Monroe High School Class of 1965 reunion and seeing so many classmates I had not
seen in fifty years. The
love and appreciation of our high school years remains as strong now as it was
then when the colors “purple & white” reigned supreme.
and reflecting on the Monroe of the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s when the
community was a close-knit and enduring entity when our neighbors were our
friends and doors were never locked, when you could always find a parking place
downtown and it was fun to shop with merchants you knew and when the telephone
was an added source of conversation and the word “telemarketer” had not been
the old chimes ring out on Sunday mornings from Monroe’s First Baptist Church.
the advent of home freezers, taking all our meats and vegetables to the Monroe
Freezer Locker for storage in bins with a key.
old ice house on Marable Street where you could get bags of crushed ice in heavy
brown paper bags sealed with a twisted copper band.
And oh, how good the home-made ice cream tasted which came from a churn
with the crushed ice cooling it to the freezing mark.
sight and smell of wood smoke coming up from a neighbor’s chimney indicating
cold weather was here and how good it felt standing in front of a fireplace
after coming in from the cold and getting your rear end warmed.
it is time to “fall back” and it gets dark early making a perfect segue for
lighting candles, snuggling under throws and reading a good book.
aroma and taste of sho’ nuff real buttermilk cornbread to eat with your home
made vegetable soup.
the “old days” when you could walk into a bank and know all the folks there
especially those who handled your account and felt safe knowing they actually
cared about your money.
just once more you could see a pile of leaves in someone’s driveway getting
ready to burn down to ash and the aroma of burning leaves in the fall.
able to ride down the street you lived on and know each one of your neighbor’s
old, family owned restaurants in Monroe who were opened for breakfast, lunch and
dinner, like Charlie Tregone’s Manhattan Cafe, The B & M Café, Hearn’s
Café, Stowe’s Lunchroom and Gladney’s Lunchroom.
While these places didn’t offer up the food our refined palates have
come to appreciate, the food was good, the service friendly and you felt a sense
of community no matter where you ate.
home pick-up & delivery of your clothes & laundry that was offered up by
Fambrough’s and Blasingame’s Cleaners.
to the post office and always having stamps on hand and seldom having to wait in
line for help with your postal needs. Also, the post office was a great place to
see & visit with your friends.
appreciating my old desk top Royal typewriter purchased from Monroe Office
Supply Company on Broad Street.
Nothing today says sophistication and style like receiving a typed letter
(and there are still some who maintain this practice and I salute them!).
fun & excitement of the annual Christmas Parade down Broad Street announcing
the official start of the Christmas season always headed by Monroe’s Girls
Corps and ending with Santa tossing candy to the youngsters.
Many of us never quite figured out how Santa could slip in and out of
town so quietly and many of us wandered around Monroe looking for his sleigh and
church hay rides on an old flat-bed truck and the church choirs on similar
trucks riding around the residential streets singing carols on a cold winter’s
big old glass lights that adorned our Christmas trees and outdoor greenery.
Walton Circle home of Dr. & Mrs. Philip R. Stewart at Christmas when Kate
Stewart’s artistic talent was displayed on their front yard with replicas of
caroler’s and the Manger scene.
that “retirement” wasn’t as frightening as I thought it would be.
using a big dictionary to look up words rather than the “spellcheck” on my
to enjoy writing letters by hand to friends and getting a reply in kind and not
a computer email.
beauty of sitting in a quiet church contemplating life as the organist plays
hymns you have known all your life and you still know the words to the verses.
having the presence of mind to drive through Monroe and remember where all the
buildings you knew as a child were.
and appreciating Louelle & Buddy Conyers, Monroe’s first caterer and
Monroe’s “Shoe Shine Man” and appreciating Louelle’s delicious culinary
offerings along with that shine Buddy could put on your shoes. No matter how
long they have been gone, they continue to be remembered with love and
though I now wear glasses I am still able to read a lot of books and remember
what they were about!
oldest business, The Walton Tribune, and the sense of community it brings with
each issue published and for the good folks there who continue to give me space
to record my thoughts and memories in reflecting back on the town and folks from
early on who helped create so much of our history.
all of the above I am truly thankful.
Now it is time to celebrate and enjoy the holiday with turkey, dressing
and all the trimmings! May
you all have a warm & wonderful Thanksgiving!